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Five children die in France house fire

  • 3-31-2013

Five children have died in a house fire in northern France, officials say.

The blaze in Saint-Quentin town, about 130km (80 miles) north-east of Paris was accidental, early reports say.

The children's father was also present but escaped with light burns, local officials said.

On Saturday, three people were killed and 13 injured in a fire in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers. Officials suspect the fire was "of criminal origin" and an investigation has begun.

Officials said that the blaze, which began at around 22:30 local time (21:30 GMT) in Saint-Quentin was most likely accidental.

The father jumped from the first floor of the building and raised the alarm, local media reports say.

But by the time emergency services arrived, the building was not safe to enter and the children's bodies were discovered when the fire had been put out.

Four of those injured in the Aubervilliers fire were in a serious condition. Around 60 people were reported to be in the seven-storey building when the fire began.

"The fire was probably of criminal origin, it looks like it was a settling of scores," the mayor's Chief of Staff Michael Dahan told TF1 radio.

Aubervilliers' deputy mayor for housing Evelyne Yonnet told French media the building was "very badly managed, with a squatting problem".

Those who escaped from the building were being temporarily housed in a local gymnasium, reports say.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2013 BBC

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